A systematic review of interventions and outcomes in lung cancer metastases to the spine

V. Armstrong, N. Schoen, K. Madhavan, S. Vanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Seventy percent of cancer patients will have metastatic bone disease, most commonly in the vertebra. Prognosis of metastatic lung cancer is poor and treatment is mostly palliative. To-date, there is no systematic review on the ideal treatment for lung cancer with spinal metastases in regards to mortality. Literature searches were performed based on PRISMA guidelines for systematic review. Thirty-nine studies comprising 1925 patients treated for spinal metastases of lung cancer met inclusion criteria. All analyses were performed using SAS and SPSS. Data were analyzed for meaningful comparisons of baseline patient characteristics, primary cancer type, metastatic lesion characteristics, treatment modality, and clinical and radiologic outcomes. Significantly greater mean survival length was seen in the non-surgical group (8.5 months, SD 6.6, SEM 0.17) compared to the surgical group (7.5 months, SD 4.5, SEM 0.25; p = 0.013). There was no statistically significant survival difference between different types of primary lung cancer: NSCLC (8.3 months, SD 13.8, SEM 0.91) and SCLC (7.0 months, SD 4.6, SEM 0.46; p = 0.36). Number of vertebral levels involved per lesion also did not exhibit significant difference: single lesion (11.3 months, SD 6.8, SEM 2.2) and multiple lesions (13.8 months, SD 15.7, SEM 3.6; p = 0.64). For patients with symptomatic spinal metastases from lung cancer, non-operative approaches experience significantly better survival outcomes (p = 0.013). Future clinical studies are needed to determine the best treatment algorithm to help maximize outcomes and minimize mortality in metastatic lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-71
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Lung cancer
  • Neurosurgery
  • Spinal metastases
  • Spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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